The Memory of a Life Time

Kathy Santiago, Featured Columnist

     Memories are supposed to come and go but, this was no memory. I’ll never forget the expression on my face or anyone’s around me.

     “OH! Let’s stop at the beach and take pictures,” I said with my face half pressed against the car window.

     I waited until my dad halted the car and set it on park. We were at the side of the road on a hill top with a view that looked like it should be on a postcard. The weather was less than 70 degrees making me feel relieved I wasn’t in Texas. I spotted a trail of sandy steps that led to the beach shore. It was steep, but I was too eager to control myself.

     “Hey, wait up,” my dad yelled while he held my mom’s hand.

     I skipped down the stairs while holding the rope that connected to each wooden post.  I stopped and let the sun soak into my skin and felt the bumps on my arms rise. The smell of the salt water drifted up my nose to the back of my skull, which made me feel woozy. I breathed in and let out the freshing smell of the ocean.

     “Oh yeah, this is what I’m talking about,” I sighed while I continued to walk down the stairs.

     “Hey, wait up Kathy. Don’t make me tell you again,” my dad said.

     I halted from hearing the roughness of his voice grow deeper.

     “Oh, just leave her, she’s fine. Thomas go with Kathy,” my mom said as she gestured down the sandy steps.

     As I turned to walk down again, a family of four came running up the stairs with disgusted looks on their faces. I watched as they kept slipping on the steps one after another.

     “Je ne peux pas croire cela. Avez-vous vu que c’etait degoutant,” the French woman said, clutching her shoulders as if she had seen a ghost.

     “She saw something disgusting,” my brother said as he peered behind me.

     “Since when do you know French?”

     “My friend Daniel says that when he sees something disgusting,” he said as he brought his hand over his hazel eyes to block out the sun.

     Now my anticipation grew even greater. I raced down the stairs while I ignored my brother calling after me. With a final step, I reached the bottom of the stairs. I took off my shoes and the sand between my toes squeezed into the cracks of my feet. I looked towards the ocean, and there he was in all his glory. A 40 -year-old man, with the body of a swollen sumo wrestler and a hint of pruned tanned skin running across the beach naked. With every step that he made his body bounced from right to left, up and down flopping everything that he had. I felt my eyes bulge out of my head and I couldn’t help but point.

     “Oh, my God! Look, he’s naked! A man is running across the beach butt naked! Look,” I yelled hysterically while still pointing.

     Then, I looked at my surroundings. Every single person on the beach was nude. I shot my head to the right and saw a man playing volleyball naked, to my left a couple of elderly men were sitting on their chairs with their legs wide open tanning. I couldn’t help but gasp. One of the guys caught me staring.

     “Hey,” he said while he opened his legs even wider.

     I clutched the side my face and my heart just kept racing, and I couldn’t stop laughing.

     “Oh, my God,” Thomas said as he reached the bottom of the stairs.

     He turned around and started wailing his arms around towards Mom and Dad.

     “Don’t come down! There are naked people!”

     “What?” asked my mom as she looked more confused than my dad.

     A woman with a camera appeared next to me taking shots of everyone. She looked at me and smiled.

     “I didn’t know either,” she said. “Welcome to San Francisco.”